The slump in corn and wheat prices over the past month appears to offer the industry and consumers a much-needed reprieve from seemingly endless rounds of price hikes. And the good harvest in the northern hemisphere and depressed consumer demand give good reason to suppose that the September correction was not a flash in the pan.

A new forecast from agrifood consultancy EFFP that UK food price inflation will fall from a peak of 7% this summer to just below 2% by the end of 2012 certainly offers hope. But how much isn’t clear.

Those hoping that wheat and other commodity prices will gradually deflate may be disappointed, as speculative traders continue to influence in sometimes surprising ways.

The dramatic price falls in September were partly fuelled by panicked traders selling commodities they had profited from to make up for the losses they incurred on equities. Commodities now have as much to do with the stock market as the field. So as long as the financial markets continue their rollercoaster run, key food commodities are likely to do the same.